Allow me to preface this post by saying I like Sriprapaphai. Thing is I liked it better when it was one storefront wide. Back when the décor consisted of fluorescent lights and a single television, there was a sense of discovery. Don’t get me wrong I’m glad they’re successful and the food’s still pretty good. Most important though there are still new discoveries to be made at Sriprapaphai. You can find them at the front counter. Things like nan kai, super-crunchy fried chicken skin seasoned with salt and garlic, and Tokyo Roll ($4). I was pretty excited when I found the latter the other week. Spotting a Japanese snack in a Thai eatery is the type of thing that makes me glad to live in Queens.
Despite the name that stuff peeking out from the Tokyo roll isn’t flavored with green tea. The combination of sugar, coconut, and pandan exract falls squarely in the Southeast Asian flavor profile. Truth is there’s nothing Japanese about these sweet crêpes, nevertheless they’re cute to look at and tasty. As for the name, who knows? Perhaps Sripraphai Tipmanee herself was sitting around one day back when her restaurant was still a hole in the wall and said, “Let’s call it Tokyo Roll. Nobody knows what Thai food is, but everybody loves sushi.”
Sripraphai, 64-13 39th Ave., Woodside, 718-899-9599